Northern Ireland education: Planned cuts to early years programmes scrapped

4 months ago 4

Young miss  drafting  pictureImage source, Getty Images

Image caption,

The programmes see the Pathway Fund, Sure Start, Bright Start and Toybox

By Niall Glynn


Proposed cuts to a fig of younker services and aboriginal years programmes volition present not spell ahead, the Department of Education has said.

The programmes see the Pathway Fund, Sure Start, Bright Start and Toybox.

The section besides said it would not proceed with each the cuts projected for the Extended School programme.

Dr Mark Browne, the Department of Education's imperishable secretary, said that fixed the standard and interaction of the cuts helium believed they were "a determination that should beryllium taken by a minister, not a imperishable secretary".

The Department of Education is facing important decisions connected however to walk money, aft its fund was chopped by £66.4m contempt rising costs and an expanding request for services.

The section has already implemented cost-cutting moves including halting the Engage, Healthy Happy Minds and School Holiday Food Grant schemes from the extremity of March 2023.

'Decision for a minister'

Many of the programmes nether menace are designed to assistance disadvantaged oregon peculiar acquisition needs (SEN) pupils.

The Pathway Fund supports 187 aboriginal years organisations crossed Northern Ireland, portion Sure Start funds centres which purpose to enactment the wellbeing of children earlier they commencement school.

Meanwhile, the Extended Schools programme enabled astir 500 schools to supply other services similar counselling, breakfasts and after-school clubs.

In a statement, Dr Browne said grounds indicated that the standard of the cuts "would make greater budgetary pressures for the adjacent fiscal twelvemonth and beyond crossed a scope of areas, including peculiar acquisition needs".

"Furthermore, the reductions would origin important detriment to the proviso of services for our astir susceptible children, young radical and families, and tally antagonistic to each the department's efforts to tackle acquisition disadvantage," helium added.

The section volition soon people an Equality Impact Assessment consultation arsenic portion of the last budget.

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